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VDOT goal: Every street by Tuesday

The Virginia Department of Transportation phone lines have been overwhelmed by people eager to have their streets plowed, staff writer Ashley Halsey III reports.

VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris said the department will attempt to plow every residential street in Northern Virginia before the next storm arrives on Tuesday. She asked that people still awaiting a plow alert VDOT by e-mailing

By Robert Thomson  |  February 8, 2010; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Weather  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snowstorm  
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Next: Headaches on the horizon


No word on Metro yet? It's 7pm! Come on, WMATA!

Posted by: cbr1 | February 8, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

What is the word for Montgomery County? There are streets that haven't been plowed yet and it is 7 p.m. Monday? Anyone out there from Montgomery County who is willing to answer this honestly???

Posted by: azurciolo | February 8, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

VDOT totally dropped the ball this afternoon on 66 West at Exit 62 (Nutley). They had a couple of backhoes and dump trucks in the Exit 62 access lane clearing snow. They closed the exit and had THREE of the four 66 westbound lanes closed, with only the far left squeezing past. Exit 62 is the very first exit after the 495 merge and the traffic was just absolutely AWFUL. Took 1.5 hours+ to go less than 2 miles.

A) There was no reason to close THREE of the four 66 lanes (they could have done with just closing one or maybe two).

B) There was no reason to close the ENTIRE exit 62 service road. The dump trucks were barely using it and they could have at least opened the Nutley-north exit once they moved past it (but didn't).

It took them FOREVER to figure out the mess they had created in terms of the traffic backup, which by the end of it stretched for miles back toward Washington, well past the 495 interchange. They finally opened the lanes but only after the problem had become truly excruciating.

VDOT needs better supervisors and more responsive crewpersons on the scene. They need to be more responsive to the traffic backups they're creating and better able to access the cost/benefits of continuing their snow clearing operations (which in this case appeared to be truly minor).

Posted by: guest1 | February 8, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

My neighborhood was plowed, but they left such a thick layer of snow/ice on the road that it's tough to pass. I really don't understand the logic of not trying to get down to bare pavement. Leaving a thick layer to refreeze every night is a nightmare.

Posted by: uconnflyer | February 8, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Will believe it when I see it. I live 5 min from the heart of Tyson's Corner and have not seen a plow in my neighborhood since the first flake hit the ground.

Posted by: Axel2 | February 8, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

We have not been plowed, either. Two large state-contracted trucks have driven up and down the long-since-cleared Vale Road on our corner all day since Saturday, just cruising and collecting state money. When I stop them they refuse to turn into any of the side streets, telling me that the state is not responsible for side streets. Complete failure of state government. No one is in charge.

Posted by: rhamberger | February 8, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Response to all above comments about VDOT response to this latest storm- Virginia is Out of SALT- Too many storms- The stock pile was more than enough for a normal season- Not enough salt= less salt for the roads. Every single truck on the road has been loaded with salt or sand for weight in order to push the snow and or scrape the ice from the road way.

The people that drive these trucks are REQUIRED by law to only work a Maximum of 12 Hours then get a full nights sleep- REALITY= more than 30 hours straight through behind the wheel- Very short breaks here and there- (67 hours with 7 hours of rest time, that is how long I drove this weekend). VDOT forces these sub-contractors to push their drivers on, even though they are aware of the lack of sleep/rest- Just because their responsible to clear the roads.

As an employee of a snow removal contractor working in this past storm and every storm for 5 years here- I know that this is the case, having experienced it first hand!

Now to all you sniveling people that complain to VDOT and the other agencies about the roads and the conditions there of: you talk about them dropping the ball- Your insane- You are the same people driving in the weather just because you decided to do it. You fail to realize that your presence alone on the road make the job of snow removal near impossible for these crews- You consistently fail to heed the warnings issued by our government- DO NOT TRAVEL unless it is a LIFE AND DEATH emergency- Period! Even then you are endangering the lives of yourself and the emergency snow removal crews.

How many times do you need to be told- Do not pass these trucks- you think because the snow doesn't actually soak you, that you are safe- but you don't know that these trucks move all objects that are in the roadway including trash, metal, manhole covers etc- sometimes shooting out with tremendous speed.

While driving a plow/salt truck over the weekends storm- once again I was shocked at the brazen disregard for safety that individual drivers continually and habitually exhibit- Driving recklessly on ice and snow- slush with unknown conditions in the roadway- Passing plow trucks on both sides, weaving in and out of our trucks to pass us by- Not just unsafe but criminal behavior!

Frustrating, dangerous, life threatening actions all because you want to get somewhere in a rush- I now address every one that was driving during this past storm- If you weren't driving a plow truck or another emergency vehicle- then you were a moving hazard risking the lives of all of the people around you and yourself. You should be ashamed of yourself- how many of you fail to recognize that a plow truck is an emergency vehicle? You wouldn't pull in front of a fire truck while it was responding to a life threatening situation but you will speed by a plow truck.

You embarrass me.

Posted by: adonis11 | February 8, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

This is the worst VDOT has done in 30 years of my living in my Fairfax Station subdivision. The cul-de-sac has not been touched, yet the main road has been cleared for two days down to bare pavement. It apears nobody is in charge or accountable. A simple snowstorm is ruining our economy. Nobody can get to work and nobody can shop.

Posted by: Viewpoint2 | February 8, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

"Viewpoint2," find out whose responsibility your cul-de-sac is. The question in Virginia is whether a road is part of what's sometimes called "the VDOT system." That is, when a neighborhood is built, typically VDOT takes responsibility for the street that provides access into and out of the neigborhood--a street that is "accepted into the VDOT system"--while the homeowners' association is required to take responsibility for the other streets, often but not always cul-de-sacs, on which most of the houses are built. There are plenty of exceptions to this, of course, and it also seems that many of the older neighborhoods have more streets that are in the "VDOT system," I think because HOA plowing responsibility was more often made a zoning condition in more recent years.

But anyway, don't be too quick to blame VDOT for not plowing the street on which you live--it may be your HOA's fault. The split responsibility can lead to odd situations: On Saturday night, my street--handled by the Kingstowne HOA--was plowed at 9 PM, and then the street to which mine connects--handled by VDOT--was plowed at 10 PM. That meant my street got sort of walled off by plowed snow after it was plowed. Thankfully the Kingstowne plow came back through overnight and again in the morning and cleared my block so that I could drive to the Verizon Center on Sunday!

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 8, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Look for a white sign near the street should have a 4 or 5 digit number on it. If you have one of those signs on your street, its a VDOT street. If you don't, its not a VDOT street.

But keep in mind, cul-de-sacs are the absolute LAST thing to get cleared.

Posted by: thetan | February 8, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

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